Batesville Casket Health care

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Shown at the ribbon cutting Wednesday to officially open the new health and wellness center for employees at Batesville Casket are (from left) Batesville Alderman Ted Stewart, Batesville Casket Co. president Kim Dennis, Steven Wall with Sen. Thad Cochran’s staff, Panola Partnership Ambassador Bob Kent, Partnership CEO Sonny Simmons and Congressman Alan Nunnelee. The Panolian photo by Rita Howell

The staff at the new Hillenbrand Health and Wellness Center are (from left) Linda Fuller, L.P.N., Roger Stephens, M.S., O.T.R.; Jennifer Marshall, R.N., and Joseph Hunter, M.D. The Panolian photo by Rita Howell

Casket Co. cuts ribbon for one-stop health clinic

By Rita Howell
Batesville Casket Company officially opened its new health and wellness center on Wednesday, christening a facility that offers free medical care to employees and their families who participate in the company’s medical plan.

The clinic could serve approximately 1,000 people, including the plant’s 300 employees and their families, a spokesman said.

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On hand for a ceremonial ribbon cutting Wednesday morning on the sprawling campus were representatives from the company’s corporate headquarters in Batesville, Ind., along with Batesville, Miss. city officials, and Congressman Alan Nunnelee.

Nunnelee turned to the company officials and thanked them for the jobs they have created here and then challenged employees to take advantage of the health clinic.

The Hillenbrand Health and Wellness Center is the second to be installed by the company, which earlier built one for employees at its Batesville, Ind. plant. (Hillenbrand, Inc. is the holding company for Batesville Casket Co.)

“We are going to take care of all of you,” company president Kim Dennis told the employees, explaining the corporate commitment to providing health care at no cost, and access to rehabilitation and other services.

“You can walk in, see the doctor, walk out with your medicine,” she said.

The 8,750 sq. ft. building houses a reception area, six examining rooms, a consultation room, a lab, emergency eye-washing station, an audiometry room and a physical therapy department. The center was built by Panola Construction Co.

The center is staffed by a full time physician, Dr. Joseph Hunter of Southaven; two full time nurses, Linda Fuller, L.P.N., of Hernando and Jennifer Marshall, R.N., of Water Valley, and physical therapist Roger Stephens of Indiana.

The facility is designed to provide primary care services such as employees would expect to receive from a family physician, a company brochure explains.

It is also equipped to handle workplace injuries and drug testing.

The waiting room is small by design. It’s not a walk-in clinic. Visits are by appointment only, but employees can go online anytime to make appointments. The center is presently open during daytime hours Monday through Thursday, though the exact schedule varies from day to day. It is operated by Novia Care Clinics which offers a 24-hour nurse line.

Not only are the doctor visits free, so are the medications.

For employees like Peggy Watters, the new center is a bonus.

“It’s going to be very beneficial to the employees,” she said. “We can have our yearly screenings, bring our children in, and we won’t have to pay anything.”

Watters works in staining, details and inspecting the high-end wooden caskets manufactured at the local plant.

Not an exercise facility

The new center focuses on primary care — seeing patients with typical ailments like flu or viruses — and on occupational health, helping rehabilitate patients who’ve suffered injuries. The occupational health department offers a full complement of physical therapy, with state-of-the-art equipment. But it’s only for therapy, not for employee exercise.

With a nod to local sports teams, each patient exam room is labeled with a different name: Tiger, Cougar and Green Wave.

On the first day it was open, the clinic was booked up with appointments.

 “We’re making a significant investment in the facility and the equipment and the staffing,” company spokesman Chris Lowery explained. “It’s really about the health and wellness of our associates, our Hillenbrand family members in Batesville.”